Gerald McCoy avoided a previously-reported torn ACL, but the result is the same: his season’s finished before it began.
Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones announced Monday that McCoy suffered a ruptured right quadriceps tendon during the team’s first padded practice of training camp.
The six-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman will undergo reparative surgery and miss the entire 2020 campaign.
“It’s certainly disappointing,” Jones said, via USA Today. “We’re first and foremost disappointed about Gerald, but also it’s disappointing for us. He was one of our major acquisitions there in the offseason in free agency.
“Unfortunately, that’s why you have to have a deep roster.”
According to on-site media, McCoy went down during individual drills and “quickly clutched” his knee. He was “visibly frustrated” and unable to put weight on the leg while being helped off the field. A subsequent MRI confirmed the severity of the injury.
Back in March, McCoy represented the opening salvo as the Cowboys rebuilt their defensive line this offseason via free agency and the draft. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star, who’s tallied 59.5 career sacks, inked a three-year, $20 million contract with $7 million guaranteed at signing.
His loss hurts, but it’s far from insurmountable. The club boasts arguably the league’s deepest line after also signing ex-Pro Bowlers Dontari Poe, Aldon Smith, and Everson Griffen. They, too, used third- and sixth-round draft picks on DL Neville Gallimore and Bradlee Anae, respectively.
“We’re still fired up about our personnel there and we’ll probably be going with what we have,” Jones said. “We really felt like our defensive front was one of our defensive groups coming into camp.
“So we’ll just have to work from here.”
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Next Men Up
While veteran DE Tyrone Crawford replaced McCoy in Monday’s practice, his full-time fill-ins on passing downs are likely to be the sum of their parts, comprised of Gallimore and 2019 second-round pick Trysten Hill, both of whom Jones singled out.
“Two young players we will need to come through for us,” he said.
Hill made just seven appearances as a rookie, often clashing with ex-defensive boss Rod Marinelli. But he’s pushing for first-string reps as a sophomore and appears re-energized under the tutelage of new DL coach Jim Tomsula.
“Trigger Trey, man. That guy is an animal,” Crawford said of Hill on Monday, via in-house reporter David Helman. “A lot of last year was just him growing up and growing into a pro. Now, with this offseason work and his mindset and mentality coming into this thing, I’ve seen him a pro right before my eyes. We’ve had a lot of good conversations so far over some meals, and I can see it in him. He’s focused, he’s hungry and he wants it. He’s got some good opportunities ahead of him, and I just hope he takes advantage of them. I love my young guys and I want to see them do the best they can do.”
On running downs, Dallas will employ Poe, who remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list, or incumbent nose tackle Antwaun Woods, a two-down player who re-signed with the team this offseason.
McCoy Releases Statement on Injury
For a 32-year-old who had stayed relatively healthy throughout 11 NFL seasons, McCoy is taking the heartbreaking development — and positively painful experience — in stride.
In a detailed statement obtained by USA Today, McCoy vowed to return stronger and, in the interim, provide mentorship to his younger counterparts.
“Just want the fans to know I truly appreciate the warm welcome and I’m sorry this happened,” McCoy said. “The Jones family opened their doors to an old vet to have an opportunity to come and help this team win and I was beyond excited to be a Cowboy. I was really looking forward to this amazing opportunity we have in front of us. I will remain the mentor I am to the young guys and do my part to make sure that this team goes where it needs to. As far as my mindset people deal with real life problems everybody (sic) day especially now with the state of our country. There is a lot of pain and heartache taking place right now that all our attention needs to go towards whether it is the pandemic or our fight for social justice. In retrospect what I’m dealing with is minimal compared to that. Therefore this is light work for me. Anybody who knows me knows I love a challenge. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!! I will be back better. LETS GET IT!!”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL